Football

Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo Escapes Red Card For Swing At Dara O'Shea

Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo Escapes Red Card For Swing At Dara O'Shea

All of the talk surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo coming in to Portugal's clash with Ireland on Wednesday was about his potential to break the all-time international goal scoring record - but he was lucky to escape a red card in the clash on the Algarve.

Cristiano Ronaldo escapes red card for strike on Dara O'Shea

In the 10th minute of the game in Faro, Ronaldo's Portugal teammate Bruno Fernandes went down under minimal contact from Jeff Hendrick, after Ireland misplaced a pass in their own penalty area.

There was a lengthy VAR check on the penalty, which appeared to show that Hendrick had actually gotten the ball, but it was not the soft contact that caught the eyes of many pundits. For many, Cristiano Ronaldo was lucky not to receive a red card for striking Dara O'Shea as he lined up the penalty.

West Brom man O'Shea rolled the ball away from the spot as Ronaldo prepared to take the penalty, and the Portuguese striker appeared to punch O'Shea's arm. Ronnie Whelan on RTÉ commentary was the first to notice the strike from Ronaldo, and it certainly looked a petulant punch.

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In the end, VAR didn't even review the incident, choosing instead to look at the penalty incident ad nauseum, before ultimately sticking with the on-field call. It wasn't the strongest of strikes, but it certainly seemed that Ronaldo was lucky to escape punishment for striking out at the Irishman.

Pundits and fans alike were unimpressed with the decision.

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RTÉ mentioned the incident at half-time of their coverage, and Dietmar Hamann thought Ronaldo was lucky not to see red, saying, "Most other players would have been sent off. I think he should have been sent off."

Ronaldo was left unpunished and left to take the penalty, but he didn't manage to convert. 19-year-old Irish keeper Gavin Bazunu made a fantastic save from the Manchester United forward to keep the score at 0-0 in the early stages.

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Ireland would go in at half-time 1-0 up after a brilliant header from John Egan gave them the lead just before the break.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been in the news in recent days for his return to Manchester Unted, but he could have been in the news for a red card if VAR hadn't been so lenient on the Algarve.

SEE ALSO: The Best Of Your Memories From Ireland's Famous Win Over The Netherlands In 2001

Ireland Netherlands 2001

Eoin Harrington

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